The Academy of All Things Awesome

By Kristin Archer

Just when I think Hamilton can’t possibly get any more fun, in comes The Academy of All Things Awesome. What is it, exactly? In the words of creator and headmistress, Erika McMeekin:

  • A series of creative learning and life experiences for people who are bored of doing the same old same old
  • An opportunity to meet new – and dare we say awesome – people in Hamilton
  • A cheap and easy way to test drive new hobbies
  • A way to socialize that doesn’t require you to (a) spend tons of money (b) imbibe things (c) know anyone at all! (Source: AATA)

When I started I Heart Hamilton, my goal was three-fold: discover my hometown, challenge myself with new experiences, and inspire others to get out there and do the same. The spirit of AATA is right up my alley. This is what life is all about – putting yourself out there, learning, making connections. And what a time to do all of those things right now in Hamilton! Check out my recent interview with Erika on 93.3 CFMU to hear more about the concept behind AATA.

Academy of All Things Awesome creator Erika McMeekin and Beyography founder Nicky Nasrallah. Photo from The Academy of All Things Awesome.
Academy of All Things Awesome creator Erika McMeekin and Beyography founder Nicky Nasrallah. Photo from The Academy of All Things Awesome.

Keep checking AATA’s website to say in-the-know about all of their upcoming events. Things sure started with a bang! The first activity hosted by AATA was Beyography: dance classes where you learn Beyoncé routines. They take place every Wednesday evening in August at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts. I attended the first and it was sold out, and they just announced that this week’s is sold out as well! Be sure to register for the remaining two sessions.

Beyography founder Nicky Nasrallah is from Ottawa and his classes gained a huge following in his hometown. He now also teaches them in Toronto, where they gained momentum after it was featured on a local blog. Given the response I got from sharing the first class on social media, here’s hoping the following takes off in Hamilton! Check out AATA’s interview with Nicky to learn more about his inspiration behind Beyography.

Warm-up stretches. Photo from The Academy of All Things Awesome.
Warm-up stretches. Photo from The Academy of All Things Awesome.

Each class is two hours and is dedicated to one Beyonce song. At the first session we learned Bey’s first big solo hit, “Crazy in Love.” I was a huge Destiny’s Child fan in their day and remember loving the video for this one when it first came out. I think we were all really excited to learn those uh-oh, uh-ohs! (You know the move.) Nicky’s routine paired the original choreography from 2003 with Beyoncé’s current moves that you see her do on tour, which are even more crazy! It was hard-hitting and fast-paced; definitely challenging. Moves came out of me that I didn’t know I had!

Photo from The Academy of All Things Awesome.
Photo from The Academy of All Things Awesome.

The great thing about AATA is that everyone is welcome, at all skill levels. A few girls you could tell were dancers, but most of us were in the same boat. I grew up taking dance classes and it had been years since I’d taken a class and attempted to pick up choreography. Being in the beautiful space of the Conservatory, it really took me back to that time. I’ll admit, I also don’t exercise nearly as much as I should, these days. This was a full body workout without you even knowing it. It was just so much fun. And even more, it’s just such a positive, empowering experience, and you walk away feeling like you can run the world! Take a peek at the clip I took of the class as well as La Belle Sirene‘s video blog.

Photo from The Academy of All Things Awesome.
Photo from The Academy of All Things Awesome.

It’s not just Nicky’s dance skills that make the experience, but his personality and positive energy. He is so enthusiastic and encouraging, and right with you every step of the way. You can tell how much Nicky loves what he does. Headmistress Erika was right in there with us as well – Beyography and The Academy of All Things Awesome make a perfect pair. Hopefully Nicky will bring the classes beyond this summer. Hamilton is ready!

In the meantime, I can’t wait to see what The Academy of All Things Awesome does next. Grab your books – class is in session!

kristin
ihearthamiltontour@gmail.com
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing an influential social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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